Over 80,000 newborns are admitted to specialist neonatal units every
year in the UK due to premature birth, dangerously low birth weight,
or other serious medical conditions requiring personalised
attention. However, a recent study conducted by BLISS, the premature
baby charity, found that these newborns are unable to receive
necessary care as neonatal units on average are understaffed by one
third. Where there is insufficient capacity, these newborns and
their families must resort to travelling long distances to access
the care they need.
Currently, the accepted standard
among healthcare providers is at least one nurse for every patient
in adult and paediatric intensive care units. While this same
standard is recommended for neonatal units, only three percent are
staffed to operate at this level. Even more alarming, sixty five
percent of neonatal intensive care units did not contain enough
staffed cots for the number of babies admitted.
These conditions bear sombre news,
as studies have found a direct correlation between the increased
number of babies requiring neonatal care and increased infant
mortality rates in the UK.
Stewart, who is a Parliamentary
Champion for BLISS, reacted: “It is our responsibility to care for
the most vulnerable in our society, and currently we are failing
these newborns at the most crucial time of their lives.
“Britain is rated with the second
highest child morality rate among the top wealthiest nations in the
world, which is an insult to this country and our healthcare system.
“Children and their families deserve
better, and the NHS must examine and improve our nation’s neonatal
care to protect the defenceless.”
Jackson was elected in May 2005 to represent the
Peterborough constituency in the House of Commons.
To find out more about him, his views and activities, visit his
Community Website - May 2007